Tips for personal development

Thinking BIG

Think Big

Top tips for personal development.

Ever thought that it would be great to be able to be or do certain things better than you currently do. For example if you could play scratch golf (meaning a handicap of 0 or better). If it took skill to be able to do so then we could all potentially do it as skills can be learnt or taught.

I always say that the reason we are where we are at today is because of the decisions we made 4-5 years ago. Those decisions have led us to right here, right now, whether we like it or not. Others might say that we are here because of fate, circumstance, chance or good planning. All of these could also be true and I would add that if some or all of those things are indeed true then we could determine, to a high probability, where we go from here.

The secret to being in a better place in the next 4-5 years is to make better decisions today. Better decisions come from having better information and better learning and therefore better input into our brains.

A simple example would be the decision process to decide whether to buy or rent a house. There are lists of things to think about here. Where can we buy, what does renting give us that owning doesn’t and vice versa. What can we afford, how much is a deposit and so on. Either decision will put us in a different situation in 5 years time, renting will most likely mean we cannot afford to save for a home, buying a home will mean additional financial burden we may not have been anticipating. The upshot is though that 5 years is going to go by whether we like it or not, what we have to determine is where we would rather be in 5 years.

Life is less planned than this; in fact we plan our lives much less than we plan a purchase or even a holiday. Why is this so?

Not because we are lazy but because we generally allow things to happen to us rather than making things happen.

Here are a bunch of tips though to think about, especially if you are DETERMINED to be in a different space in the next few years.

Tip one: Input great things into your brain, daily.

Learn how to input great things into your brain on a daily basis. This is normally known as ‘brainwashing’ but for this exercise we are simply calling it ‘regular input’. Some of the things you could be putting into your brain could be;

  • Positive affirmations.
  • Uplifting words.
  • Positive reinforcement.
  • Happy thoughts.
  • Strong visual information.

 Positive affirmations – these are phrases that every day tell you what you need to hear. From the day we are born we hear the word ‘NO’ over 40,000 times before the age of 7, coupled with the ‘you can’t do this or that’ builds up into a totally negative way of thinking and seeing the world. Imagine if your parents or friend’s input only positive affirmations from the day you are born, imagine how you would think today. Having said that though it is never too late to start the process. I have a couple of positive affirmations on my mirror at home. One says ‘Today you are going to make a difference in someone’s life’ and the other says ‘Today you are going to discover the next biggest secret to happiness’. I have them dotted around the house and in various forms, from post-it notes to printed text to framed paragraphs.

We are bombarded with bad news all day every day, especially if you happen to be an avid news watcher. All news is bad in general because good news does not help the ratings and doesn’t sell. I believe if we receive nothing but negative input day in and day out then eventually we will turn negative. Some people are so negative they wouldn’t develop in a dark room. These people ooze negativity and it really does ‘ooze’, if you get some of it on you it can seriously affect your health.

If this were not true then there wouldn’t be the ‘Gesundheit Institute and Dr Patch Adams’ who believes that having a positive attitude and humour in your life will help you to heal, therefore perhaps the reverse is also true, having a negative attitude and never laughing will cause you to get ill. Long term-prolonged exposure to negative input, thoughts or messages has to turn you more negative. To what extent this happens is purely down to how long you let the exposure happen.

There are certain things you can do to avoid negative input but I feel it boils down to this one key secret:

If you are being bombarded by negative turn off your eyes and ears!! Move away, get as far away from that person as possible, they are indeed trying to poison you.

Tip Two: Read as many self help books as you can.

This is the world’s best-kept secret, self-help books actually do work, if you read them and put the suggestions they make into practice.

Suggest a trip to or any good online book store. 

The second part is critical; take some action to put them into practice. Otherwise they are a lovely bunch of words, they might uplift you for a moment but eventually they will wear off, usually in about 30 seconds flat. You have to take some determined action to put them into practice.

Read as many self help books as you can get your hands on. Set a goal to read at least one per year. If you can read one per month it would be 12 times more beneficial. Read books that are a little over your head that stretch for your thinking. There is nothing better than being able to stretch and grow for a moment. There are some great authors, some living and some great ones no longer with us.

Great authors like; Norman Vincent Peale, Dale Carnegie, Dr Robert Schuler to name a few, they are all well published and well worth reading.



Tip Three: Listen to something positive every day.

If you have an iPod, an MP3 player or even a CD or cassette player in your car then you have the ideal opportunity to fill your ears with good listening material.

If you go to a coffee shop with a friend and all they can do is complain about their boss, boyfriend, baby or bad hair doo then you have to do yourself (and them) a favour by telling them that your ears are not rubbish bins and therefore will not be receiving any more of their negative input.

There are plenty of audio books available and plenty of public speakers available too. My suggestion is to find a favourite and plug them in, listen to them on a daily, hourly and as regular a basis as you can. Especially when you are in the car, stuck in traffic and stuck with negative drivers around you, honking and generally stressing you out, this is the ideal time to be able to listen and learn.

I find that about 10% of everything you listen to sticks whilst driving so you may have to listen to the same piece up to 10 times to get the most out of it. Otherwise listen when you can find a still and quiet place.

Tip Four: Associate with people who are better than you (perceptually anyhow)

Someone once told me that we would be same people in 5 years time apart from the books we read and the people we associate with.

If you look around at your closest friends they would generally be on a similar income level to yourself, be involved in similar activities and probably have similar likes and dislikes. Let’s face it we are creatures of habit and we are social creatures who like nothing more than being in a comfort zone.

I can guarantee however that if you start reading different books and start associating with different people things for you will change. Imagine if you could spend a year with Donald Trump for instance, do you think your thinking could change as a result? Do you think that his thinking might change also, I absolutely believe it would? Whose would change for the better and who’s for the worse?

Generally speaking the people we associate with will either lift us up or they will drag us down. If you look at your closest friends can you tell which fall into which group?

Tip Five: See as many motivational speakers as you can.

Generally this dovetails in nicely with point 4 above. If you can get to hear and see motivational speakers from time to time you will be increasing your exposure to positive input ten fold. There is nothing like being in an audience whilst someone is feeding you with their wisdom and insight. Like the books this is information that has been accumulated over 10, 20 or 50 years perhaps and you get to download it in the space of an hour or so.

Another thing that happens at these events is you get to meet like minded people who are also doing what you are doing and may get the chance to meet the speaker themselves.

I went to see Robert Kiyosaki (Author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad) once speaking for an hour; in fact he is an enthusiastic fellow and spoke for over 2 hours. He had a barrage of questions fired at him and he also remained after the talk to mix and mingle. I had the chance to ask him ‘now that you are a dad how do you teach your children to think like you do?’

His answer was inspiring and set me on a course to help my children and others around me to learn and develop their financial intelligence.

So get to as many of these as you can, put up a goal to see at least one per year and again if you get to see and hear more it has a doubling effect.

Tip Six: Set S.M.A.R.T  goals.

Goal setting is the most under-used strategy we have available at our fingertips. We are, mostly, notoriously poor at setting goals. SMART goals are considered the most effective for the following reasons;

S for Specific – set a goal that is well defined, not ‘I want to be rich’ set a goal that you want to earn $1000 per month additional income.

M for measureable – you have to be able to measure the success of the goal. In this case the measure would be $1000 per month. It means you can also measure the progress as you go.

A for achievable – The goal has to be within your capability of being able to be achieved, not so heady that you set yourself up for failure. For example if you wanted a goal around golf and currently shoot around 100 strokes per round, something achievable would be a round of 90. Not a round of 60, which most professionals cannot reach. The next key in setting achievable goals is once you near the goal you must reset the stretch goal again if you are to continue to grow.

R for relatable – You have to be able to relate to the goal. It would not be relatable for most of us to set a goal to climb Mount Everest in the middle of winter. Goals generally should be set around things in our vicinity. You can set goals in the areas of home, sport, work, lifestyle and so on.

Sure if you are a veteran mountaineer setting a goal to climb Everest would be a great goal. It would then be relatable.

T is for Time Bound – there has to be a timeframe around when you want to make the goal happen. It should not be so far out or too near. Too far and you are never going to put the effort in to making it happen and too near you are going to think immediately that it is too hard and again give in.

How you word the goal can be very powerful, here is a goal I set for myself some time ago.

‘Before my xx birthday I will earn an additional $500 / month from my writing. I will know when I have achieved this when my bank balance grows each month by this amount’

Tip Seven: C.A.N.I

The key to personal development is C.A.N.I, Constant And Never-ending Improvement.

Personal development has to be a lifetime decision. NOT a fling, a fad or just this month’s flavor of the month it has to be a commitment to continue to grow forever, to follow the tips above forever.

The decision is the easy part.

The action is a little more difficult.

The outcome can be life changing.

It takes 21 days to create a habit that can be a habit for a lifetime. Doing something consistently for 21 days can make it into a habit. Once it is a habit it somehow embeds itself into your psyche and the thought of giving it up is more painful than starting again.


Go ahead try it.